Indian chintz (sarassa) was highly valued from ancient times for its rich colors and sophisticated dyeing technique. Known as an export item as early as the fourth century, sarassa was exported to Southeast Asia, Europe, and Japan. This work, thought to be a segment from a temple wall hanging, however, was made for the domestic market. Two women stand beneath a large tree with various birds and squirrels. The woman on the right holds a flywhisk, used to brush away insects and dust, while the one on the left holds a peacock-feathered fan and flowers. The objects in their hands indicate that these women are cow herders, waiting for the appearance of the Hindu god Vishnu manifested as the god Krishna. While being of appropriate quality for a Hindu temple, the charming illustration, which does not adhere to a set model, fills this remarkable work with energy and life.
Sarassa Hanging with Scene from
the Tale of Krishna

India, 17th-18th century H. 128.5 cm, W. 110.8 cm
Resist and mordant-dyed cotton

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